Facial Bar (5.25 oz)
Handmade Cartel’s Facial Bar is an effective, non-irritating face soap. This translucent bar is unscented, which is always appreciated in products I plan to put on my face. I’m sure it’s not just me, but strongly scented facial products are always a turn off, especially when the scent is an artificial perfume fragrance. I can feel my face breaking out just thinking about some of the heavily perfumed creams and soaps I’ve used in the past. Yuk.
Some may find that this soap strips the skin’s natural oils, which is true. So if your skin tends to be within the normal to dry range, simply wash your face once with this bar and it shouldn’t feel overly dry. Those of you with skin in the normal to oily range should be able to use this as you would your regular facial cleanser.
Because this is a solid face soap, it’s great for travel. You won’t have to compromise the quality of your skincare when you’re away from home. This facial bar is also long lasting, as long as you don’t leave it sitting in water. And if you cut it into 4 or 6 pieces (I store those unused pieces in the fridge) it will last even longer.
Chocolate Hair Milk (9.0 oz)
I’ve had an aversion to chocolate-scented products for as long as I can remember. Given the choice, this product is definitely not one I would have chosen for myself. But the fun of experimenting with different hair products is stronger than my dislike of chocolate-scented products so I put aside my first world problems and gave this a try. Besides, Handmade Cartel’s June subscription box included a full 9.0 oz bottle of this Chocolate Hair Milk, and I didn’t want to see it go to waste.
Handmade Cartel’s Chocolate Hair Milk is very watery; exactly what you’d expect from a hair milk. It might be a good leave-in on its own for straight, wavy, and even loosely curled hair. It provides moisture, slight definition, and minimal hold for tightly curled and coily hair, but is not a good stand alone leave-in for these hair textures. The best use for this hair milk is as a liquid for those who follow any variation of the LOC method of product application. And that horrible chocolate scent? It’s actually a light, milky chocolate that thankfully fades after the product dries. When all is said and done, this is a great, light moisturizer that helped keep my hair soft and healthy. I would reorder it without hesitation, even in spite of the smell.
Solid Lotion Bar (0.75 oz)
Lotion bars in general are well-intentioned but highly impractical products. They tend to be difficult to apply and rub in. This can be especially inconvenient when, for example, you want to quickly rub in some hand cream and get on with your day. And trying to use a lotion bar on a larger area of skin? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
This lotion bar is no different. Handmade Cartel’s Solid Lotion Bar is unscented and made with good ingredients. Its solid format and secure packaging make it a great mess-free option for travel, especially if you only have a carry-on and are trying to keep liquid products to a minimum. Otherwise, this lotion bar is indistinguishable from any other natural lotion bar on the market and, unless you’re a fan of lotion bars in general, I would skip it in favour of a more convenient product.
Lavender Nectar Mist (2.5 oz)
If you like lavender, you’ll love Handmade Cartel’s Lavender Nectar Mist. This calming mist can be sprayed everywhere; hair, face, body, pillows, you name it. Unfortunately, the scent doesn’t last very long; by the time the mist dries, the scent is gone. So, at 2.5 oz, the full size product doesn’t last very long. But it’s quite inexpensive, so you can stock up and use them liberally.
Handmade Cartel’s Lavender Nectar Mist is also great for travel, and for keeping one at home and others wherever you like, including the office and your gym bag. I definitely plan to get a few more of these before they disappear from Handmade Cartel’s website for good.
All Natural Coffee Body Scrub (3.5 oz)
Coffee, coffee everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Wow, is this ever a messy product! My first impression was that this body scrub is great if your goal is to cover the entire shower with coffee grinds. Granted, they are refreshing, awakening, oddly pleasant minty coffee grinds. But, yes, your entire shower will get to experience this product with you.
After the initial shock of the messiness wore off, I started to like Handmade Cartel’s All Natural Coffee Body Scrub. One unique characteristic is that this body scrub doesn’t melt. With many body scrubs, you can massage it in until the sugar, salt, or whatever the base is melts into your skin. Not this one. Naturally, there is an upside and a downside to this. On one hand, there’s no terminal end to your exfoliating session; you can exfoliate forever and ever until you decide to stop. One the other hand, there’s no terminal end to your exfoliating session; if you’re getting your feet ready for sandal season, or exfoliating other areas that may need a little extra attention, this is great. Is it luxurious? No. But you can mix it with whatever liquid or oil you like to add some pampering to your exfoliating routine.
When stored in a container with a little oil or water, this body scrub becomes slightly softer on the skin without losing its infinity scrub status. The label doesn’t say whether this scrub is made with fresh or used coffee grinds. So for those hoping to fight cellulite while exfoliating, this might not be the caffeinated savior you’ve been looking for. Regardless, mixing and storing this scrub with water or oil and no preservative isn’t great for its shelf life, so try to limit your mixing and storage to a handful or two at a time, unless you plan to use a lot of this scrub in a short period.